Start in the Middle

Are You a Writer? (Part 2)

Are You a Writer?

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Well, are you? Look around right this second. No one is seeing this but you. And you don’t have to say anything out loud. So answer the question.

Are you a writer?

“I haven’t published anything.”

“It’s just a little thing.”

“I write but not like [fill in name of writer].”

I didn’t ask you that. One more time:

Are you a writer?

No? Not sure? Not feeling worthy to admit it? Why? Well, there’s a few reasons why you might be feeling that way. Let’s tackle one.

I always knew I could write. Everyone knew I could write. But I never said “I’m a writer.” That’s different, I’d argue. I’ve had nonfiction articles published but the fiction stuff, that’s just different. I’m not published in that.

I began writing a novel, got stuck halfway, and couldn’t get past it. So I stopped writing while that albatross sat on my shoulders.

And the years rolled on.

It took a number of events before I looked in the mirror and said, very quietly, “I’m a writer.”

Nothing happened. Lightbulbs didn’t shatter, the mirror didn’t crack, the floor didn’t tremble. There was quiet in the tiny bathroom. No big deal. I’m a writer. Of course I am. Now to put my money where my mouth was.

I began saying it to people when asked what I did. “I’m a writer, working on my first novel.”

No derisive laughter appeared at the statement. A lot of times the person would say, “That’s amazing! You know, I’ve had this idea for a book for years but somehow never got around to it.”

Or:

“That’s great! As soon as I retire I’m going to write a book.”

(These kinds of comments will be fodder for a whole different entry one day in the future.)

But the point remains. I accepted that I’m a writer so everyone else did as well. I can hear one of the “Yeah, but” comments as I type this:

“But I don’t have anything published. At least your articles were published.”

True. But you know what? No one asks what I’ve published. As soon as I mention what I’m working on now, the idea is accepted. I’m a writer and I’m writing.

Isn’t that what writers do? Is that what you’re doing? Are you writing?

Then you’re a writer.

Seems simple, doesn’t it? So why doesn’t it feel that way?

To be continued….

4 Comments
  • JK • June 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    A resounding NO.
    Writing is hard work no matter how you slice it. If its fiction you must form a narrative and find a voice that suits the work. If its non-fiction you have to organize events no less diligently, still find a voice, but you lose creative license(or at least you should when dealing with facts).

    • J. M. Levinton • June 24, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      I’m actually happy to see a comment like this. A lot of people think writing isn’t work, that we sit down and the ideas flow and we whistle a happy tune while doing it. I love to write. That’s what makes the hard parts bearable. But it’s definitely work.

  • Alex • June 27, 2014 at 7:13 am

    I loved this piece especially as an educator! Showing your your journey to your belief ” I am a writer” helps others. Also, it’s just plain engaging! Well-done!!

    • J. M. Levinton • June 27, 2014 at 11:11 am

      Thank you!

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